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First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card Review

Pros & Cons

  • With its lower-than-average annual fee, this is a solid card for people looking to build credit with responsible use who do not qualify for an unsecured card.
  • Some user reviews report slow card issuance and payments can be held up to 10 days.

Top Features

Purchase APR
19.99% Variable
Annual Fee

Full Review

Curtis Arnold Editor-in-chief
The First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard Secured Credit Card takes a long time to pronounce, but, with responsible use, it can shorten the amount of time it takes you to build a solid credit history. Despite a relatively high APR, this card's low annual fee and affordable minimum deposit can put a clean line of credit within the reach of many consumers.

During the credit crunch, it often seemed like banks would pull the plug on secured credit cards altogether. Many subprime lenders used secured cards to line up customers for their more expensive unsecured credit cards for poor credit. Well-known banks turned secured cards into a benefit for customers of their retail branches, while other issuers directed customers with lower than average credit to expanded lines of prepaid debit cards.

Secured credit card for rebuilding after personal finance disaster

This card is best if past financial problems have soured your relationships with other leading issuers of secured credit cards. For instance, an issuer may offer a similarly-priced secured card, but an outstanding balance or a default on a past account would disqualify you from a new account. After all, you can't reasonably expect a lender to accept a security deposit on a new account when you haven't paid off your other debt.

Although retail banks like Bank of America and Wells Fargo also offer affordable secured cards, the idea of linking a credit card with a checking or savings account could rightly make you nervous. A problem in one part of your financial life could too easily leak into others, something that a neutral brand like First Progress helps prevent. As part of the Synovus network of regional banks in the Southeast United States, it's likely you won't have any conflicting accounts with First Progress.

How First Progress Platinum Elite compares to other secured credit cards

This card offers a very competitive annual fee and variable APR, compared with other secured credit cards on the market. However, this bank does operate much more slowly than its competitors. According to published terms and conditions, a new account can take as long as three weeks to set up. Payments can be subject to a hold of up to ten days, during which your access to credit could be restricted. Other reviews have pointed out that these issues highlight weaknesses in First Progress' customer service. However, if you're executing an effective, long-term, credit-building strategy, account maintenance speed shouldn't concern you.

According to credit reporting agencies, using a secured credit card to build your credit score requires months of deliberate work and responsible use. First, you'll use your First Progress card once every month to buy something very small. Then, when your statement arrives, you'll pay it off. Hovering your credit utilization at about 1 percent will give you the best shot at boosting your credit score. This card's lack of other major perks and benefits doesn't matter, since it really should stay locked up at home most of the time. If you plan to use a secured card for anything else other than building a credit history, you may be better off with a prepaid debit card or with a debit card linked to a traditional checking account.

This card compared to other bad credit cards

Purchase APR
19.99% Variable
23.9% (Fixed) 
17.99% Fixed 
Annual fees
$35 - $99* 
(*Dependent on credit worthiness)
This card is best for consumers with no credit history who do not qualify for an unsecured card.

Should you switch to First Progress Platinum Elite?

You'd only ever need to switch to a secured credit card if you're battling a thin credit file, recovering from a string of delinquent credit cards, or with responsible use rebuilding your personal credit history after a bankruptcy. First Progress' online application process makes getting a secured credit card convenient, especially if you want to maintain separation between your checking account and your credit card issuer. If you can afford to park at least $300 in a savings account for the next two years, and you think you can save more in future fees than you'll spend on this card's service charges, First Progress Platinum Elite makes a solid choice.
CardRatings.com Editorial Staff

First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card details

Balance Transfer Intro APR
Balance Transfer Intro Period
Purchase Intro
Purchase APR
19.99% Variable
Annual Fee
see more  

Credit Card Rate Information:

  Balance Transfer
  Cash Advance
 19.99% Variable
APR Floor:
Intro Rate:
Intro Period:

Finance Calculation Method:
 Daily Balance
Default/Penalty APR:
Default/Penalty Margin:
Default/Penalty APR Floor:
Penalty/Default Trigger:

Credit Card Fee Information:

Annual Fee:
Foreign Transaction Fee:
Late Fee:
 Up to $35
Over-the-limit Fee:
Balance Transfer Fee:


Rebate Description:
Special Notes:
 Good for car rental, hotels; anywhere credit cards are accepted and no credit history or minimum credit score required for approval.
Credit Card More Information:

Card Issued By:
 First Progress
General Correspondence Address:
Card Type:
Card Class:
Card Category:
 Primary Category Cards - Bad Credit
States Available In:
Minimum Credit Limit:
 $300 min.
Maximum Credit Limit:
 $2000 max.
Credit Limit Notes:

What First Progress says about this card

  • Receive Your Card More Quickly with New Expedited Processing Option
  • No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
  • Good for Car Rental, Hotels; Anywhere Credit Cards are Accepted!
  • Credit Line Secured by Your Fully-Refundable Deposit of $300 -- $2,000 Submitted with Application
  • Just Pay Off Your Balance and Receive Your Deposit Back at Any Time
  • Nationwide Program though not yet available in NY, IA, AR, or WI
  • * See Card Terms.

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